Returning to Childhood by Debra H. Goldstein
Last Friday was Passover’s first 2019 Seder. At one time, our extended family’s Seders averaged 20-30 attendees, but in the past few years the death of the older generation, the different cities our children have settled in, and the activities of our children and grandchildren significantly decreased that number. This year, only four of us – my husband’s sister and her husband and my husband and me – were at the table.
Even though our number was low, we celebrated the holiday in the traditional manner. We went through the Haggadah saying the prayers and reciting the story of Passover, we ate too much food, and we enjoyed being together. At other homes throughout the city and the world, the same rituals were followed.
After the evening ended, I exchanged an e-mail with a friend, who attended a much larger family Seder. She told me about an interesting occurrence during their meal. Traditionally, the youngest at the Seder, is asked to recite the four questions. This year, for the first time, the six-year-old grandchild of the host and hostess skyped from New York to recite the four questions in Hebrew and English. The family was thrilled, while the child took great joy from participating so successfully in her grandparents’ Seder.
Our Seder was a little different. No child skyped in. Because I was the youngest in attendance, I asked the four questions. It seemed funny not to have a child asking the questions, but at the same time, it felt right. The moment of the four questions passes quickly, followed by the family taking turns giving the answers or explanations, but it is the moment from this year’s Seder that will stick with me.
It has been a long time since I recited the four questions. It has been even longer since I was a child. But, for a moment, I again was both. Have you ever had a moment that returned you to your childhood?